County committee to determine allocation of $553,000 in Forest Reserve payments | PostIndependent.com

County committee to determine allocation of $553,000 in Forest Reserve payments

Staff report

Garfield County selected its representatives for a committee that will allocate $553,000 in National Forest Reserve payments, all of which must be used for public schools within Garfield County or the county's Road and Bridge fund.

Distribution of the 2017 funding, which is $34,000 more than 2016 allocations, will be determined by a committee of representatives — three apiece — from the local school districts and the county.

"Per state statute, 100 percent of Title I funds shall be allocated to the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) or the county's Road and Bridge fund," said Garfield County Finance Director Theresa Wagenman in a news release. "We're excited to hear we've received the funds again this year."

The decision on how to spend the funds must be made by Sept. 30 of this year. Any amount still in the county's possession at that time will likely count against the county's Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) allotment, Wagenman explained.

Recently, county commissioners appointed Commissioner Mike Samson, County Manager Kevin Batchelder (or his designee) and Wagenman to represent the county on the committee.

"We'll invite designees from Garfield County School District 16, Roaring Fork School District Re-1, and Garfield School District Re-2 to sit on that committee and determine how these funds will be distributed," Samson said.

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"It's extremely important that these funds be used for after-school programs," added Commissioner Tom Jankovsky. "That's where they've gone for a long time, and I want to make sure that continues. That's very important."